Jan 24, 2013, 1:32 PM EST
On Wednesday, LA Kings head coach Darryl Sutter delivered a message to defenseman Willie Mitchell, who’s been cleared to play after lockout knee surgery.
“You know what, he’s got doctor’s clearance,” Sutter told the LA Times. “He’s got trainers’ clearance. Coaches want him to clear himself.
“So do it.”
Is that terseness or bluntness from the bench boss?
Hard to say.
It’s clear Sutter’s none too pleased about his team’s start. The Kings looked flat in a 5-2 loss to Chicago in their home opener, then blew a third period lead in Colorado — prior to that, the Kings went 86-0-9 in 95 games when leading after 40 minutes — to start the season 0-2.
That said, Sutter is a veteran coach and knows it’s far too early to panic.
He’s also been a straight-shooter throughout his career, and this may have been an instance of him simply telling it like it is.
As for Mitchell — well, this isn’t the first time he’s been overly cautious about returning from injury. He suffered a concussion while playing in Vancouver and, after recovering, reflected on the pressure and stress he felt about returning to the ice.
“Everywhere I’d walk: ‘How’s your head? How’s your head?” Mitchell told the Times back in January 2012. “That’s the last thing I wanted to talk about. I just wanted to disconnect from that.
“So that’s what I did. I went to my place in the middle of nowhere in the forest and just chilled.”
While he’s not living in wooded isolation this time around, Mitchell says he’ll still be coming back on his terms.
“I don’t want to get out there and be a liability to my defense partner, to my teammates, to my coach,” he said. “When I come back I don’t want to come back, play the next couple of games and then [the knee] swells up and be out.”
Jan 26, 2015, 7:30 PM EST
He’s a repeat offender.
Jan 26, 2015, 7:10 PM EST
Teams have till noon eastern time Tuesday to place a claim on the forward.
Jan 26, 2015, 6:16 PM EST
The Avalanche are trying to claw their way into the playoffs.
Jan 26, 2015, 5:52 PM EST
Minnesota had three healthy goaltenders on its roster.
Jan 26, 2015, 4:59 PM EST
Who will play this week?
Jan 26, 2015, 4:22 PM EST
This might be the result of fighting in back-to-back games.
Jan 26, 2015, 3:31 PM EST
Will Mikhail Grabovski step up?
Jan 26, 2015, 3:12 PM EST
The post-All-Star Game portion of the season isn’t starting any better for Buffalo.
Jan 26, 2015, 2:21 PM EST
He’s been overseeing co-coaches Adam Oates and Scott Stevens.
Jan 26, 2015, 1:30 PM EST
He didn’t end up playing in the All-Star Game.
Jan 26, 2015, 12:31 PM EST
Remember, the club opted not to amnesty his contract last June.
Jan 26, 2015, 12:23 PM EST
Canucks will give Frank Corrado a chance to show what he can do.
Jan 26, 2015, 12:12 PM EST
Columbus’ star center is having a nice little run at the moment.
Jan 26, 2015, 12:05 PM EST
They also summoned Josh Anderson.
Jan 26, 2015, 11:23 AM EST
“Everybody felt like I just want a car to drive it.”
Jan 26, 2015, 10:55 AM EST
Ilya Kovalchuk deemed it a “worthy tournament,” though.
Jan 26, 2015, 9:51 AM EST
Including an intriguing game between the Islanders and Rangers.
Jan 26, 2015, 8:47 AM EST
Monday’s collection of links.
Jan 25, 2015, 9:49 PM EST
“We’re so proud of our city for showing that hockey is such a big deal here.”
Jan 25, 2015, 9:25 PM EST
“This is something I’ll remember for a very long time.”
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